The Hotel General Manager

(GA, Nov. 2015)

Nov. 2015

The Hotel General Manager (by G. Angelini)

A 24 hours’ / 365 days’ performing orchestra

(Hotels never close down; they operate 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.)

The hotel is similar to a performing orchestra, the conductor of this “orchestra” is the hotel General Manager, the players are the employees and the audiences are the hotel guests.

Like an orchestra with a good reputation, the hotel creates a sense of expectation among the general public and in particular with their customers.

Also in line with the sense of expectation, a good hotel also creates a sense of arrival, a sense of comfort, a sense of familiarity / acceptance, a sense of trust and memorable guest’s experiences.

A good hotel starts first with committed owners then with a qualified and caring General Manager who will build a good team of people around him who will comply in full with the culture and values that they define and practice at all times.

A “good team” will create a “good hotel”, a poor team will create a poor hotel.  A lot of time should be spent in creating the culture and the values of the hotel.  But most important is the “walk the talk” and comply at all times with these values.

Members of the Performing Orchestra

The hotel is like a “small town” and it has multiple facilities & services that normally the guests don’t see.  The pulse of the hotel is behind the scene like the kitchens, the telephone operators, the purchasing department, the laundry, all the engineering functions, the finance division, the cost control, the cleaners, the window washers, etc….

These are all part of the “performing orchestra” and the hotel General Manager, as the conductor, must assure that all players are well trained, motivated, have the right equipment, the right attitude and most importantly they all play to the same tune.

The most successful Hotel General Managers are the ones that

–          Creates success where there was none and creating even greater success where it already existed.

–          Accepts ownership and responsibility for top-line revenue, understands & responds to the market needs and participate in sales and marketing activities.

–          Understands and responds to upcoming trends; source of business, consumer’s expectations, changes in segmentations/markets, online distribution channels, length of stay, spending power, etc…

–          Are focused on the market positioning, image and success of the hotel.

–          Are team players and good communicators.

A.   Responsibility & Accountability of the General Manager

The General Manager has the ultimate responsibility of the hotel’s performance and profitability. Achieving/Exceeding the approved annual budget is the binding contract between the General Manager and the company. The General Manager is expected to be creative, innovative, a good communicator and an effective leader.

B.   Job of the General Manager

A hotel General Manager is responsible for the day-to-day management of a hotel and its staff. Has commercial accountability for budgeting and financial management, planning, organizing and directing all hotel services.

While taking a strategic overview and planning ahead to maximize profits, the General Manager must also pay attention to the details, setting the example for staff to deliver a standard of service and presentation that meets / exceeds guests needs and expectations.

C.   Work activities of the General Manager

As a hotel General Manager duties vary depending on the size and type of hotel, but may include:

–          planning and organising accommodation, food & beverage and other hotel services;

–          promoting and marketing the business;

–          setting and achieving sales and profit targets;

–          managing budgets and financial plans as well as controlling expenditure;

–          maintaining statistical and financial records;

–          analysing sales figures and devising marketing and revenue management strategies;

–          recruiting, training and monitoring staff;

–          planning work schedules for individuals and teams;

–          meeting and greeting customers;

–          dealing with customer complaints and comments/respond to reviews;

–          Be the champion/leader in CSR/Sustainability;

–          addressing problems and troubleshooting;

–          ensuring events and conferences run smoothly;

–          supervising maintenance, supplies, renovations and furnishings;

–          dealing with contractors and suppliers;

–          ensuring security & safety is effective;

–          carrying out inspections of property and services;

–          ensuring compliance with licensing laws, health and safety and other statutory regulations.

–          others

D.   General Manager Skills

–          Conceptual Skills; The ability to collect, interpret and use information in a logical way.

–          Interpersonal Skills; The ability to understand and interact well with people, including guests, employees, suppliers.

–          Technical Skills; The ability to perform hotel management specific aspects of the job such as annual budgets, forecasting guests/business demand and expenses, establishing pricing, controlling/managing costs.

–          Being able to manage people; Communicate effectively, be a good listener, be fair, genuinely, respect the executives and staff, value and solicit feedbacks and use staff inputs.

–          Relationship with employees; Empowering and helping employees plan broad goals and giving them discretion about how to achieve the goals and provide assistance.

–          Relationship with the guests; take every opportunity to interact with the guests, make efforts to learn what the guests want and how hotel can best meet and exceed their expectations and provide memorable experiences.

–          Relationship with external organizations; Be able to successfully represent the hotel when dealing-joining professional business and community service organizations, interact with suppliers, meet with representatives of community, government, local authorities, travel agencies, tour operators and others.

–          Build a great image; Participate in the community and industry events, interact with neighbors, athletic/sports events, and activities that have direct impact on the reputation and success of the hotel.

E.   Must’s for General Mangers

–             Comply with corporate policies, standards and requests.

–             Develop owner confidence & trust and maintain an open communication.

–             Interact with a more diverse and demanding workforce.

–             Emphasize teams rather than the performance of individuals.

–             Learn and cope with the fast paced changes on technology.

–             Be innovative at all times and do not fall behind competition.

–             Continuous improvement of product/quality while increasing productivity.

–             Adjust to workplace changes.

–             React to local and global challenges and industry / market trends.

–             Improve ethical and social behavior at all levels of the hotel.

–             Ability to anticipate what guests want/expect.

–             Multi tasker and multi-talented.

–             Must have patience.

–             Be humble and let accolades fall on employees/colleagues.

–             Demand the best and do not tolerate mediocrity.

–             Focused on job performance not on personality.

General Manager’s Personal Traits (Necessary for success)

Confident, honest, intelligent, outgoing, goal-driven, achiever, willing to take initiatives, strong ethics, good coaching and people skills, self-evaluation, care, concern, empathy for people, good memory and analytical skills. Willingness to accept criticism and complaints.

F.    Suggestions / Advices

–             Continue learning at all time; technology, trends, web, processes etc.

–             Be level-headed.

–             Forgot having a 9-to-5 mentality.

–             Be responsible for own career, don’t wait for someone else to be responsible for your own progress.

–             Must be mobile, willing to work in different cultures and environments.

–             Be innovative, show initiatives and appreciate challenges.

–             Find a mentor, someone successful that you respect.

–             Volunteer to open a new hotel, very important.

–             Be passionate and stay competitive.

–             Hire assistants / function’s heads smarter than you.

G.   Length of assignment in one hotel

Ideal between 3 to 5 years.

–             Below 3 years is too short for a successful hotel General Manager to see the results of the strategies and actions that have been put in place for the success of the hotel.

–             Over 5 years, the General Manager takes the work as routine and starts putting own interests before the interests of the hotel.

H.   Targets and Performance Appraisal of the General Manager

–             Achieve/exceed budgeted GOR, GOP/EBITDA and GOPPAR.

–             Continuous improvements in RGI and Market Share Position.

–             YoY Growth in Revenue and Profitability.

–             Employees Satisfaction (external survey/evaluation and score).

–             Guests Satisfaction (external survey/ratings).

–             Safety and Security of People and Property.

–             Physical Product Maintenance and Improvements.

–             Innovation; services, revenue, costs.

–             Leadership, Dependability, Attitude & Behavior.

–             Specific Key Result Areas (KRA), for self and/or for hotel.

–             Timely payments of all operator fees & charges.

I.      General Manager “Language”

Happy Employees, Happy Guests, Happy Owners…